I listend to race radio (olntv.com) and watch the newsflashes. I have TiVO set, so I'll watch it and re-watch it when I get home tonight. :)
I would've hate to see what Basso's time would've been had it been a flat TT. 2+ minutes isn't that bad for a guy like Basso considering Ullrich lost a minute.
Agree. Hopefully we won't have another feed bag collison like last year. :eek I have a sneaking suspicion that since Ullrich returned the respect last year and they are now even, someone would pounce at the chance to attack while Lance is down.
As they kept saying on OLN, the only thing that could keep Lance from winning his record 6th Tour now is the Race itself.
I don't have cable, but have been following the stories. Lance and USPS are doing an incredible job. Ivan Basso has been a really strong competitor, and I think that's good for this race. But today's time trial really showed who's better-prepared for this race. It shows how good people are without their team. The weeks that USPS spent riding up and down the mountains in the Pyrenees and the Alps are paying off in spades - hard work, as opposed to all the doping allegations.
I wish that more of USPS would receive press coverage. Azevedo, especially - no one on the wires said a word about him and pssst... he came in 4th in the stage and is 5th overall - not too bad for a domestique!
Ullrich - my understanding is that he didn't get in shape in time and is just starting to hit his groove. Too little too late?
Yes, off season conditioning has created a mess for Jan. Many think he could've won the '96 Tour but team leader Bjarne Riis was in better standings heading into the mountains. Team loyalty is paramount in the tour and Jan was a faithful lieutenant. Halfway through the '97 Tour, it was apparent that Bjarne wasn't going to make it. He was having troubles getting up the tough climbs and the team directors gave Jan the nod to take over team leadership and he won the Tour. It was said on that day he took over, he would be the next Eddie Mercxx (considered the greatest cyclist) and thats when things went wrong for Jan.
Originally Posted by Siryn
After his performance in the '97 Tour, Jan's off season was filled with lavish parties and public appearances. Booze, junk food and more booze contributed to a rapid gain of weight. In Europe, winning one stage in the Tour cements you in the annuls of Tour fame. Jan was going overboard and it was alleged he was dabbling in recreational drug use. He showed up to the '98 Tour injured and out of shape. Jan was leading the Tour going into the Pyrenees when Marco Pantani (another sad story) lead a breakaway and made up 1 1/2 minutes. The next day on a cold rainy mountain stage, Pantani broke away and gained 9 minutes. He held on to the Tour and won.
In '99, Lance's first year back, Ullrich was out with an injury and he gained more pounds.
Since 2000, Jan has always gained the weight offseason and tried too quickly to shed it off. It seems his personal life, although more straightened out with a wife and kid, has been the downfall to his Tour quest.
This year, however, Jan seemed to be back in shape. He had a rapid weight loss prior to the Tour but Jan said he felt better than ever and had the overall win at the Tour of Switzerland. However, publicly, T-Mobile said they switched team leadership to Kloden before the Alps. Yet, while this puts Jan under the radar a little bit, he seems to be coming in to form. There's a glimmer of hope yet, that he'll end up on the podium.
IMO, I wonder if Jan would switch teams to say, CSC or even take over for Lance in the new U.S. team (Postal is dropping sponsorship after the Tour), he could get in with a new coaching staff with better knowledge of off season training and diet. From everything I've read about Jan, once the season is over in October, Jan goes his own way and then has to train harder in January.
Both Lance and Jan have about 1, maybe 2 years (stretching it) of winning the Tour. I personally would like to see Jan win it one more time. He has always been a favorite and the mystique that surrounds him has me wondering how he'll fare each season.
Sorry for the long diatribe...probably more than anyone wanted to know.... :lol
It's ok :) The coverage is interesting, and some of the descriptions of the "carnage" have been downright hilarious.
As far as I understand, Discovery Channel just picked up sponsorship for next year and Lance will be coming back. Heck, if Ekimov is still going at 38, I think Lance can too - even if as a domestique.
What the hell went on during the L'Alpe d'Huez time trial?
Tour director says fans spat at Armstrong
Wed 21 July, 2004 19:44
L'ALPE D'HUEZ, France (Reuters) - Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc has admitted he had seen fans spit at five-times champion Lance Armstrong during the 15.5-km time trial to L'Alpe d'Huez.
Leblanc also said the swarming crowds on the twisting climb on Wednesday had frightened him as riders, including Armstrong, were forced to weave through excited fans who jumped out on to the road.
"I was scared too and I felt relieved when we reached the section with barriers," Leblanc told Reuters after stage winner Armstrong described the stage as a "bad idea" and hit out at some German fans.
"Until this morning, everybody thought this time trial was a good idea and now we realised it was not so.
"There were lots of aggressive fans surrounding the riders and I even saw two idiots spit at Lance Armstrong."
"Unfortunately I doubt you can put barriers on the 14 kilometres of the climb," he added.
Armstrong, who stormed to victory nearly a minute ahead of his closest challenger Jan Ullrich and now looks set for a record sixth Tour win, urged organisers to think seriously about holding another time trial at the ski resort.
"I don't know if that's such a good thing for the Tour de France. I don't think it's safe. I think organisers should watch out," said the American.
I TiVO'd it and rewatched the morning live broadcast. It's just before the 9.5km checkpoint where you can see a lugey flying in the air, but it looked like it cleared him.
For anyone who reads the writing on the road there were also painted signs that read, "Lance Sucks" and "EPO Lance" (in reference to claims he's using EPO, a performance enhancing drug).
However, I had a good chuckle when further up the road there was a painted sign that, "Rip Thier Balls Off Lance".
This is the first time I've seen negative signs painted. Uusally fans just write the names of their favorite riders.
Lance takes another stage and extends his lead against Basso. Let's hope no one decides to punch him in the kidneys...
Out of the swarming masses at the tour, you're bound to get 1, 2, heck even 10 real idiots that run and try to grab or push a rider, spit on a rider, write negative comments on the road, draw obscene pictures on the road. The only thing you can do to stop that if punish those caught very harshly, but other than that - it's the Tour and you can't put barriers down over hundred of miles.
When idiots do these things, you have no one to blame but those very idiots that do it. Blaming the organization, or the French people as a whole is just wrong. Note: this isn't a response to anyone on this thread, but to the criticism I've heard about it in general.
I watched the coverage of the latest stage this morning. As someone already said, another Lance victory. He pulled it off right at the end. Towards the end of the race, a guy was running next to the riders carrying a German flag and acting crazy. One of the riders actually shoved him to the side of the road. I can't remember which rider but I think it was a German. It was kind of scary and illustrated the problem a few nuts can cause. Luckily, it didn't seem to have an effect on the race.
Agree. Interestingly, Lance has gone from least favorite rider to favorite rider in the Tour. Lance has gone to deep lengths to learn the French language and culture; a tip he took from Greg Lemond. I find it refreshing that during the Tour cultural and political differences are put aside in order to share the passion of such a perfect race.
Originally Posted by Zaius
Spectators have always been an integral part of the race. Many a "Rouge Lantern" (last rider) have received a helpful push from a spectator while trying to make it up a mountain. Many a rider have taken water from helpful fans on a hot day.
It's a shame that a few have tainted the purity of the sport.
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